Health Covid-19: Child deaths from illness are very rare, says...

Covid-19: Child deaths from illness are very rare, says European study

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They would occur in less than 1% of cases, said Thursday a study led by experts from Britain, Austria and Spain and published in the specialized journal The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.

Deaths in children from Covid-19 are extremely rare, and occur in less than 1% of cases, as the disease remains mostly mild in them, confirms a European study.

82 health establishments participated in this first European study of children and adolescents (3 days of age under 18), published in the specialized journal The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.

Led by experts from Britain, Austria and Spain, the study shows that of the nearly 600 children under the age of 18 infected with the new coronavirus, only a quarter had pre-existing medical problems.

4 deaths out of 582 positive patients

This contrasts, while the proportion of adults with co-morbidities (pathologies) is generally much higher in the studies, note the authors.

Of the 582 patients studied, positive for the virological test (RT-PCR), only four died, all aged over 10 years, two of whom suffered from pre-existing medical problems.

A small but notable proportion developed a serious illness requiring treatment in intensive care (8%, or 48/582 cases); but the hospital-based study would not have included mild cases, which did not need help or a doctor. In contrast, more than 90 children, or 16%, had no symptoms.

The true case fatality rate in children is probably significantly lower than that observed in the study, notes the review.

“Mild illness”

“Children with additional viruses found in the respiratory tract along with SARS-CoV-2 were more likely to be admitted to intensive care. This could have important implications for the coming winter season, when cold and flu infections become more common, “notes one of the main authors, Dr Bego ?? ia Santiago Garcia of Gregorio Mara University Hospital ?? i³n Madrid.

For his part, Marc Tebruegge of the Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health at University College London judges the results reassuring.

“The fatality rate in our cohort (of children, editor’s note) was very low; it should be even much lower, since many children with mild illness were not brought to the attention of a doctor and would therefore not be included in this study, ”comments this co-author.

“Overall, the vast majority of children and young people only suffer from a mild illness,” he insists.

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